How numberless editions of this book were printed, and rights of translations sought from other countries, Daudet has told us with natural pride. The book must be read to be appreciated. “Risler, a self-made, honest man, raises himself socially into a society against the corruptness of which he has no defence and from which he escapes only by suicide. Sidonie Chebe is a peculiarly French type, a vain and heartless woman; Delobelle, the actor, a delectable figure; the domestic simplicity of Desiree Delobelle and her mother quite refreshing.”
Success followed now after success. ’Jack (1876); Le Nabab (1877); Les Rois en exil (1879); Numa Roumestan (1882); L’Evangeliste (1883); Sapho (1884); Tartarin sur des Alces (1886); L’Immortel (1888); Port Tarascon (1890); Rose et Ninette (1892); La petite Parvisse (1895); and Soutien de Famille (1899)’; such is the long list of the great life-artist. In Le Nabab we find obvious traces of Daudet’s visits to Algiers and Corsica-Mora is the Duc de Morny. Sapho is the most concentrated of his novels, with never a divergence, never a break, in its development. And of the theme—legitimate marriage contra common-law—what need be said except that he handled it in a manner most acceptable to the aesthetic and least offensive to the moral sense?
L’Immortel is a satire springing from personal reasons; L’Evangeliste and Rose et Ninette—the latter on the divorce problem—may be classed as clever novels; but had Daudet never written more than ’Fromont et Risler’, ‘Tartarin sur les Alces’, and ‘Port Tarascon’, these would keep him in lasting remembrance.
We must not omit to mention also many ‘contes’ and his ’Trente ans de Paris (A travers ma vie et mes livres), Souvenirs d’un Homme de lettres (1888), and Notes sur la Vie (1899)’.
Alphonse Daudet died in Paris, December 16, 1897
de l’Academie Francaise.
A WEDDING-PARTY AT THE CAFE VEFOUR
“I am so happy!”